Laos Police Round Up Methamphetamine Pills and Crystal Methamphetamine in Record Drug Bust

Laos police seize 55 million methamphetamine pills and 1.5 million tons of crystalline methamphetamine in Asia’s largest drug bust.

Lao police have achieved the largest illegal drug seizure ever made in Asia, according to a United Nations official.

The 55.6 million methamphetamine tablets, commonly known as methamphetamine, and the 1.5 tons of crystal methamphetamine found in the back of a beer truck Wednesday night is a record for a single seizure in the region, Jeremy Douglas, regional representative for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said Thursday.

“It is three times the methamphetamine tablets that Laos seized during the whole of last year, and about a third of the crystal methamphetamine,” Douglas told the AFP news agency.

In recent years, Laos has been a gateway for drug traffickers, moving methamphetamine shipments out of Myanmar’s troubled Shan State.

The trend has accelerated markedly in recent months, exacerbated by the February coup and the economic collapse in Myanmar.

“This is related to the collapse of security and governance in the [Golden] Triangle and Shan Myanmar: the spread is affecting the region, ”said Douglas.

Authorities arrested the Lao beer truck driver in northern Laos’ Bokeo province, which is part of the so-called Golden Triangle, a notorious drug smuggling zone on the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.

The triangle has served as a mass production center for amphetamine-type stimulants, especially methamphetamine, used by criminal syndicates with distribution networks reaching as far as Japan and New Zealand.

Lao Brewery issued a statement denying any involvement.

“We are deeply disappointed that our boxes have been abused as a cover for illegal activities,” the brewery said, adding that the truck in question was not registered with the company.

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